The basic Unix commands are easy to use and work much like the basic DOS commands. This means that rather than pointing and clicking to do things, you type in what you want to do by name instead. On-line help is always available simply by typing this command at your prompt: man
More on man later, let's get started!
(NOTE: Unix is *ALWAYS* case-sensitive!!!) (i.e. R vs r) Command What The Command Does (And syntax example if neccesary) ls shows the contents of the current directory pwd shows the name of the current directory cd changes current directory (cd newdirectoryname) cd .. changes current directory to the parent directory cp copies a file to a new filename (cp thisfile thatfile) mv renames a file (mv oldfilename newfilename) also moves a file (mv filename newfiledirectory) rm deletes a file (rm filename) rmdir deletes a directory (rmdir directoryname) mkdir makes a new directory (mkdir directoryname) cat shows the contents of a file (cat filename) more shows the file contents a page at a time (more filename) less see above but allows scroll back also (less filename) head shows the first few lines of a file (head filename) tail shows the last few lines of a file (tail filename) pico starts a friendly but limited file editor program vi starts an unfriendly but powerful file editor program date even you can figure this one out time see above w shows who is logged in and what they are doing finger user info check (finger user -or- finger user@host) pine starts a friendly e-mail program mail starts an unfriendly e-mail program tin starts a friendly UseNet News reader program nn starts an unfriendly UseNet News reader program login starts the login procedure passwd starts the new password change program logout now what do you think this command might do? Hmmm? talk starts a 2-way chat (talk user -or- talk user@host) jobs shows the # of jobs you have running kill kills a job (kill %N) -> where N is that job number <- ctrl-Z stops the current program fg resumes that program ctrl-C cancels the current program (try quit or exit first) lynx starts a friendly text-based World Wide Web browser program cal shows a calender for any month and year (cal MM YYYY) ctrl-L re-draws the screen in case it gets messed up somehow ping verifies that an address exists (ping address.name.here)
To get more help on any of the commands, do this: man command_name_here. For example, to see all the different ways to use flags and wildcards with the ls command, do this: man ls. In fact, you should do this, for all of the above commands before use. And for more info on the manual itself do this: man man
That about covers all the basics, get a book for the intermediate and advanced stuff, you won't regret it! Here are two general reminders... Always make a back-up file before you try to transfer, edit or rename any really important files. Never do what someone else tells you to do unless you can determine what the command will do or you really trust the person.